The Spanish capital Madrid is a vibrant, cosmopolitan and fascinating city, seeped in cultural and artistic heritage and bearing the legacy of centuries of alluring history. The robust and bold characters of the architectural designs of its palaces are evidences of its prosperous and aggressive colonial past. It is an incredible city to stroll around; exploring its magnificent architecture that saw it’s hey days since the 15th century.
Long before Madrid became the capital of Spain, Moorish King, Emir Mohamed I, chose the village of Magerit as the site for a fortress to protect Toledo from the advancing Christians. The Emir couldn’t stop the Christians and the fortress was eventually used by the Kings of Castille until finally becoming what would be known as the Antiguo Alcazar, meaning Old Fortress, in the 14th century.
King Philip II transferred the capital of his mighty empire from Toledo to Madrid in 1561. Madrid hasn’t stopped growing since then. With the impetus it has been getting from a dynamic and open society, that is also warm and welcoming, Madrid has become a great metropolis that people from different parts of the world long to visit.
Following are the two other important tourist attractions –
Plaza Mayor: Tourists and locals love this imposing arcaded square in the center of Madrid. It was first built in the 15th century as a small market square. After Spain acquired enormous economic growth by virtue of its colonies in South America, it was completely rebuilt when Phillip II made Madrid the capital of Spain and this obscure locality became the city’s focal point for bullfights, public executions, crowning ceremonies, infamous Spanish Inquisition trials, carnivals and various other bizarre occasions, often gruesome and brutal.
Royal Palace: The palace was built on the site of a former alcazar that burned down in 1734. Royals do not reside here any longer. The massive palace is richly decorated by artists such as Velazquez and Goya. It is also a repository of several royal collections of great historical importance dating back to the 13th century. The Palace is now open to visitors who want to take a trip through Spanish history.
Madrid is a tourist’s paradise. Explore it thoroughly and take long walks to absorb the city’s enormous potential to impress people from all walks of life.